Skip to main content

Full text of "The History Of Western Education"

See other formats


didactic art which has no parallel in the history of education.   So
far at any rate they have remained faithful to the Herbartian type.


It is curious that in spite of his ardent patriotism and his desire
to promote German education, Froebel should have missed
recognition in his native Germany and found his main following
in English-speaking lands. In this respect his case is in striking
contrast with that of Herbart. The difference perhaps accounts
for the fact that while Herbart's pedagogy has had many fruitful
additions since his own time, Froebel's has on the whole been
static. An educational system transferred to foreign soil is apt
to leave most of its roots behind, and to lack the power of further

This is not to say that Froebel has not exercised an import-
ant influence in the countries which have adopted his methods.
That would not be true. While the mystical philosophy which
Froebel regarded as the life-blood of his system has ceased to
have much meaning for a later age, the kindergarten as an in-
stitution has played a very considerable part, both directly and
indirectly, in humanizing the education of young children.
Largely under its inspiration the character of the infant-school
has undergone radical improvement. Even where the old fashion
of beginning instruction with the teaching of reading and writing
still continues formal learning is usually kept subordinate to the
more personal activities of directed play through which the child
is led to a knowledge of the significant facts of his environment.
The Froebelian spirit, moreover, has not been confined to the
infant-school. Slowly yet surely the idea that for older pupils
also action is a fundamental element in learning has been gaining
ground, and occupations of various kinds have been introduced
into the curriculum of the schools.

The most notable example of this is provided by the increasing
importance attached to manual training. The beginnings of this
movement are to be found in the work of Uno Cygnseus (1810-
1888), a disciple of Froebel and the pioneer of elementary edu-
cation in Finland, who established manual training in the form
of " sloyd " (domestic manual work) as a compulsory subject in